#AdoptionTalk Link Up

The Realities of Adopting Through Foster Care

I’ve seen troubling messages about adopting through foster care. I’m not talking about the standard messages about adopting waiting children – kids who are free for adoption, but because of their age, significant medical or behavioral issues, or sibling group size, are in limbo in the foster care system. No, I’m talking about the Facebook pictures and blog posts that promote a very rose-colored outlook on adopting infants and very young children through the foster care system.

While it is probably not possible to overstate the need for more foster homes, I have a real problem with this trend of making adoption through foster care seem much easier than it is. Yes, there are children in the foster care system who NEED to be adopted – but they are not healthy babies. Yes, there are healthy babies in the foster care system, but they aren’t available for adoption – and most of them WON’T be freed for adoption.

The realities of adopting through foster careThere are so many wonderfully rewarding aspects of foster parenting – but instead of focusing on those to encourage potential foster parents, the trend seems to be to highlight the RARE cases where a foster parent picks up a newborn from the hospital and then ultimately adopts that child. Yes, it happens, but it’s NOT THE NORM! And when it does happen, it takes A LONG TIME!

When we talk to would-be adoptive parents, and minimize the emotional dangers of foster care, we’re not encouraging or recruiting FOSTER parents – and we’re not doing anyone any favors.

PLEASE do not get into foster care because you think that is an easy, inexpensive way to adopt a baby or young child!!!!!!

It is absolutely possible to get a newborn placement and ultimately adopt that child. But let me tell you what happens between that first call and the “Forever Day” pictures.

  1. You get the phone call: “We have a 2-day-old baby girl that needs to be picked up at the hospital. She tested positive and the shelter order’s already approved. Can you pick her up tonight?”
  2. You gleefully say yes and run to tell hubby as soon as you hang up the phone. While you wait for the call with further instructions, hubby gets the infant car seat out of the garage and gets it installed. You go through your “stash” for baby girl bedding and newborn baby girl clothing and begin to make up the nursery.
  3. The phone rings again. “Never mind. The mom realized we were sheltering and ran with the baby. We have no idea where they are, but the state is looking. We’ll let you know if they are found.”
  4. You had the tiny baby to your prayer list, but never hear anything further about the baby girl.
  5. A couple of weeks go by and you get an 11 pm call, “we have an 11-week-old Caucasian boy coming into care tonight. His mom already has several kids in care and we don’t know who the father is. The mom’s family was already disqualified for placement of the previous kids, and the people that have the siblings don’t want a baby. He’ll be a quick TPR and then available. I know you want to adopt a baby, so you were my first call. Do you want him?”
  6. See #2. Substitute boy for girl.
  7. Adorable baby boy shows up at 1 am. Instant captivation ensues. Pictures go out to extended family, everyone is overjoyed.
  8. A few weeks go by and the CM calls with an update – some guy has stepped forward claiming that he could be the father, so we need to take the baby for a cheek swab. There is no way this guy is the dad, so don’t worry about it.
  9. This guy is the dad. He has no criminal record, wants the baby and has the ability to care for the baby. The paperwork is a formality, so you begin to pack up his things and prepare to say good-bye.
  10. Paperwork goes through, baby boy goes to dad. You take some time to adjust to his absence and prepare for the next call.


 #AdoptionTalk Link Up

Adoption Talk Linkup Hosts

This week’s topic: Adoption Hurdles

Grab a button for your post and join ErinJenni, Jill, Madeleine, and me! New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

Starfish Confidential #AdoptionTalk

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Transracial Parenting: that time my boss used a racial slur

Did I ever tell you about that time I quit my job because my boss used a racial slur?

No? Probably because I was, in a way, trying to protect him. You see, I know ^he didn’t really mean it^. He was ^just joking^. He honestly thought he was being funny. Really. He was in a room full of white women, who knew that he was kidding, so no harm, right? Except….

Three years ago I wouldn’t have quit my job over it. It would have made me uncomfortable, but I would have ignored his behavior, as my co-workers did, because he was kidding. ^Obviously.^ And he was my boss. Three years ago, I probably wouldn’t haveTransracial parenting: that time my boss used a racial slur mentioned it to my husband that evening at home. Except….


Except the ^joke^ was that I should call my son this racial slur.

You know, to get him used to hearing it….

I couldn’t stop thinking about being at a company/family event and any of my boys hearing him say something like that. A co-worker assured me that he would never say anything like that in front of Squirm. As though that made it okay.

My white privilege (aided by my professional qualifications, tbh) allowed me to find a new job pretty quickly. And my white privilege allows me to tell people this story without being accused of Playing the Race Card.

Three years ago, I was one of those people who was offended by the concept of white privilege – how dare anyone suggest that I hadn’t worked hard and earned everything in my life?


#AdoptionTalk: Small Hands

I’ve mentioned before that our family is conspicuous.

Whenever we’re out and about, I can almost feel people sizing up our family, doing the math, making guesses about our story….

Nah, my hands aren't full. It only looks that way because I have small hands.

I grew up in a very small town in the Texas Panhandle. Where I come from, you make eye contact with the people you pass, and you smile, whether you know them or not. You strike up conversations with complete strangers in checkout lines… Except I don’t anymore. Because I’m tired of the questions. You probably know the questions I mean – those questions…

What happened to his real parents?

Was he a drug baby?

He’s so cute! How much did he cost?

Is your husband black?

So I don’t make eye contact anymore. I don’t smile at people and I don’t speak to people in checkout lines. I don’t want to be rude, but really? I know that you think you’re just making conversation, but you’re probably the third person this week who has asked if I will tell my biracial son he’s adopted. (Hint: he’s a smart kid, I bet he could figure it out.)

Plus, I’m naturally a very sarcastic person. My natural reaction is normally pretty sharp. But because we are a conspicuous adoptive family, I am a spokesperson. Whether I’m having a good day or a terrible one.

More importantly, my kids are watching. I don’t want them to think that rudeness is ever the correct answer. So I’m working on graceful (but still witty) answers to most of those questions. Even when I’m so tired of hearing the same inane small-talky comments that I could literally scream. (Nah, my hands aren’t full. It only looks that way because I have small hands.)

But some questions don’t deserve a graceful response. I swear to you, I’m loaded for bear the next time someone in the checkout line asks if my husband is black:  (more…)

#AdoptionTalk Linkup: Foster Care Chaos

Since May in National Foster Care Month, we decided to add foster care as an optional topic for this week’s “Anything Goes!! #AdoptionTalk Linkup.

I had a great post planned for y’all – all the different ways (besides fostering) that you can support foster kids and foster families. I was going to have a roundup of great articles with different ideas, as well as my own thoughts….

And then Tuesday, I got a call…

Waiting for Baby SisterWe have a baby girl being released from the hospital today. She’s 11 days old and are you able to go pick her up? 

Long story short, I asked the twins if they would like a baby sister for their birthday (today), started dragging out the baby gear, and waited to hear when I could pick her up….

Which ended up being late yesterday afternoon, after sitting in the NICU watching her sleep for a couple of hours.

So as you can probably imagine, my life is just the tinest bit chaotic at the momFoster Care Chaosent….



I promise that you will get the roundup post this month, just not today.


But don’t let that stop you from joining and enjoying this week’s

#AdoptionTalk Link Up